When I am out doing errands, or making a delivery for work, or on a walk around my neighborhood, or just out doing whatever, I see all kinds of people. We all do.
When we go out into the world, we put our lives on a collision course with so many other lives. Sometimes I even get a little overwhelmed at just how many other lives are being lived alongside mine—some I’ll never know a single thing about.
It is easy to pass by people and never know a thing about them. It is also easy to figuratively walk by the people actually in our lives, to hold them at a distance and keep everything on the surface. It is easy to get wrapped up inside ourselves, in our fears and stresses, in our schedules and chaos. It is easy to focus our attention on the things we’re “told” to pay attention to. To follow the trends, to stay in “the loop”, to join the traffic.
There are so many people in this world, so many lives trying to be lived, and none of them are easy. But the one thing we all have in common is that we’re all trying our best, on our first try, and we’re making do with what we’ve been given.
We are each other’s best allies, and each other’s worst enemies.
So, in this new year, let’s look out for each other. And even more, let’s look for each other. Let’s notice one another.
In this new year, let’s look for these three people:
1) People who need grace
Whether I’m driving and I get cutoff, or I’m walking and someone rushes past me, bumping me in the process, or someone just gives me a little attitude, I have noticed that I’m quick to think, “UMM, EXCUSE ME!” Because yes, we all deserve respect. And when I’m minding my own business and someone appears to be asking the world to treat them like they are the most important person, I want to protest. I want to honk my horn or roll my eyes or say something just as rude back to them. Because yes, some people do believe they are more important than everyone else. Some people DO deserve the eye rolls, the honks and the reality check. But some people might be having the worst day of their lives. Some people might be in a hurry to get to a loved one that’s in trouble. Some people feel like their lives are spinning out of control and they are not even aware that they are treating the people around them inconsiderately. Those people don’t need more piled on their plate. They don’t need guilt, shame, or unkindness shoved in their face. They need grace. They need prayer. They need someone to let it slide and to give them kindness that they might not even deserve in that moment.
2) People who need help
We all live chaotic, busy lives. We all have about 50 things we’re thinking about at a time. We are all tackling different emotions, different losses, different challenges, every single minute of every single day. Some people find it to be too much and they ask for help. But some people are wandering around with a weight on their shoulders they don’t know how to remove. Some people think asking for help is putting that weight on someone else’s shoulders. Some people think they don’t deserve help. So let’s look for those people. Let’s be the light that shines into their darkness. It doesn’t take big gestures or knowing exactly what to say, sometimes it just takes one person noticing. One person looking out for another person. One person extending their hand and saying, let me help.
3) People with good intentions
In our world, there are a lot of things that still need correcting. There are still injustices, discrimination, and outright hatred taking place all around us, and there are people trying to weed those things out to make the world a better place. But there are also people who are determined to bring to light every single mistake every single person makes. There are people waiting in the wings to “cancel” other people. There are people who not only take pride but delight in finding fault in others. No one is perfect. No one will ever be perfect. We are all learning how to do life each and every day. We are all learning to be better people. But tearing down others will never make us better people. Destroying people who have made mistakes, who dared misstep, misspeak or misunderstand will not make us better people. We need to stop looking at people under a microscope, ignoring context, growth, or the basic differences created from different life experiences. We need to stop looking—HOPING—for the bad in people that can be turned into clickbait, and start again looking for the good in people. To bring intention back into the conversation. To notice when something done or said was with actual malice, or whether you, I, we’ve decided to interpret it as such simply because it would generate harsh conversation, clicks, and a reason to be angry. Modern technology has taught us to have a short attention span, a need for continuous gratification, an insatiable impatience—let’s not let that carry over into our relationships. Let’s attempt to understand each other rather than race to ruin each other. Pause and listen, pause and watch, remember that we are all living different lives and we only know the ins and outs of our own. Look for the intention. Let that be the loudest.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year.
May we all look out for each other in 2023.
You can find more List-cember posts here.